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restaurants

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Federal help is on the way for restaurants, bars, food trucks, caterers and other food establishments across the country that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to help them keep their doors open.

The U.S. Small Business Administration opened up applications on Monday  for the $28.6 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The RRF was established under the American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March.

headshot of peter meijer
COURTESY OF 'WITH HONOR'

Today on Stateside, Congressman Peter Meijer, an Army veteran, reacts to news that President Joe Biden plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11. Meijer talks about the prospect of ending the so-called “forever war.” Also, a restaurant owner in Port Huron discusses how soaring case rates in Michigan’s Thumb region have affected his business. Plus, an Ann Arbor-based tattoo artist on making the tattoo world more inclusive.

Ebony Road Players

Today on Stateside, education systems had to reimagine learning in K-12 schools during the pandemic. Did those systems rise to the occasion? Plus, we meet a chef in Detroit who retooled by organizing restaurateurs to fill gaps in food security.

a person holds a vaccine vial
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, Wayne State University has a low COVID-19 infection rate among Michigan’s major universities. We talk with the school’s president about how the institution has been keeping case numbers down. Also, an activist discusses the ongoing effort to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to people with disabilities in Michigan. Plus, the co-founder of one homegrown restaurant chain talks reopening at a limited capacity.

Courtesy of Valaurian Waller and Taste the Diaspora Detroit

A team of regional chefs and entrepreneurs is celebrating the cuisines of the African diaspora this month with a unique, boxed-lunch experience called Taste the Diaspora Detroit, which traces the foods' history and significant impact on American cooking and culture.

an open sign in a shop window
Mike Petrucci / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, Michigan restaurants and diners face the re-opening of indoor dining. Plus, an etiquette guide to the first Super Bowl in the pandemic. And, a look at Michigan’s role as a bootlegging hub during Prohibition.

Marisa Chrissos (left), Alexis Honzik and India Holland (right), celebrate Chrissos' 21st birthday at Zola Bistro in Ann Arbor on the first day of reduced capacity indoor dining for Michigan bars and restaurants
Tyler Scott / Michigan Radio

Some Michiganders on Monday had their first meal inside a restaurant in months.

They were likely greeted with a temperature check and a request for their phone number, for contact tracing purposes.

Amy Koopman

Indoor dining is allowed again in Michigan, as of Monday, February 1. Bars and restaurants are waiting to see who shows up, even as they adapt to new coronavirus regulations.

students and teachers in masks in classroom
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, Governor Whitmer said last week she is hoping schools will be able to reopen in-person classes by March. She also announced that K- 12 school teachers are among the groups who can get the COVID-19 vaccinations. We talk about how that process will begin. And, we continue our look at Betsy Devos' legacy after her resignation from her position as Secreatary of Education. Plus, we’ll discuss yesterday’s news that former Governor Rick Snyder, his health director and other ex-officials have been told they’re being charged after a new investigation of the Flint water crisis.

Black Fire Brewery owner Mike Wells
Black Fire Brewery


restaurant closed sign
Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we talk about the pushback from restaurants over new restrictions on indoor dining. Plus, it’s been one year since recreational marijuana was legalized in Michigan, and business is booming. We check in with a reporter covering the cannabis industry and a dispensary employee about what the year has been like.  

restaurant workers
Michael Browning / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we talk about the restaurant association’s lawsuit against the state’s orders hitting down in-person dining experiences. Also, as the CDC recommends Americans not travel for Thanksgiving, we check in on the travel industry which has been improvising day to day throughout the pandemic

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Marcela Rubio-Orozco and Andrew Epstein are married co-owners of Dolores, a restaurant and bar that served homemade Mexican food in Ypsilanti. They made the difficult decision to close the business earlier this year amid the first COVID-19 surge and the public health restrictions that accompanied it.

The Dog 'n Suds sign in Muskegon
Dog 'n Suds of Muskegon and Montague

For some Michiganders, the potential health risk of a pandemic has made dining out seem like a faint memory. This has been a huge stressor on a majority of the restaurant world, but one little pocket of the industry has been booming. Drive-in restaurants seem to be handling the uncertain times quite nicely.

While other restaurants scramble to add outdoor space and rearrange seating, drive-in restaurants have had to make surprisingly few changes, says David Hosticka. He owns two Dog 'n Suds locations in Muskegon and Montague. Hosticka said both have been hopping this past summer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved challenging for restaurants, with operators struggling to navigate continuously shifting questions about staff support, finances, safety, and retooling to meet consumer needs. A restaurant’s return to patio or indoor service might look different depending on its business model, and for fine dining, where the high-end menu is just one part of the overall experience, the path to reopening is uniquely complex.

Jelmer Assink / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we’re checking in with the owner of a gym and personal training facility to see how he’s approaching reopening in light of an appeals court decision upholding Governor Whitmer’s order to keep gyms closed to limit the spread of COVID-19 yesterday. Also, a conversation with Jim Toy, who has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBTQ rights in Michigan for more than five decades.

(Subscribe to Stateside on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or with this RSS link)

Unsplash

Today on Stateside, more Michigan businesses reopen, including some bars and restaurants. A bartender weighs in on some service industry workers’ concerns. Also, two Black American journalists discuss covering protests against police brutality, during a pandemic, in a field dominated by white reporters and editors. Plus, an artist collective based up north relaunches.

Courtesy of Patrick Echlin

It’s a hot day to be laying brick, but Patrick Echlin is working on the patio at 734 Brewing Company in Ypsilanti. He and his co-owners celebrated the brewery’s second anniversary just last week, amidst very different circumstances than when they opened. 

 

Courtesy of the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City

After being shut down for nearly two months, restaurants in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan received permission from the governor to allow sit-down dining at limited capacity just in time for Memorial Day. Some welcomed the flood of tourists for the busy holiday weekend, but others erred on the side of caution and are sticking to takeout-only service for a while longer.

an empty row of tables at a restaurant
Andrew Seaman / Unsplash

Just one day after Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended her stay at home order until May 28th, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association released its plan for reopening restaurants. 

The group said restaurants are still hoping to open up on May 29. 

The 26-page plan includes details about how to maintain social distance in restaurants as well as guidance on where to purchase face masks for employees. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state is helping restaurants, bars, and hotels that have been effectively closed down for the most part by the COVID-19 pandemic. That help ranges from deferred taxes, to loans, to the idea of buying back liquor.

Restaurants and bars buy liquor from the state. Getting ready for March Madness and St. Patrick’s Day, they really stocked up. Now, because they were ordered by the government to close to the public, that alcohol is just sitting on the shelf. The state is considering buying back the last 30 days of purchases.

Adobe Stock

Starting at 3 p.m. Monday, many businesses in Michigan will temporarily close.

a waiter holds a plate of food
Louis Hansel / Unsplash

 


Today on Stateside, between anemic state funding and fewer people in the classroom, many of Michigan’s public universities are facing challenging times. Plus, a new initiative at the University of Michigan looks to provide evidence-based training on how to prevent school violence.

French fries
HopCat

A Michigan-based bar and restaurant chain plans to change the name of its "Crack Fries" in January to distance itself from a name associated with a drug epidemic.

A post on HopCat's website by BarFly Ventures CEO Mark Gray says the recipe and ingredients of its seasoned fries will stay the same.

Courtesy of Tunde Wey

It’s easy to picture “comfort food,” but what about “discomfort food?”

That’s what Tunde Wey will be serving up in the pop-restaurant Saartj, running from May 2 to May 5 inside the community space Bank Suey in Hamtramck.

SAM CORDEN

The Crystal Café in Benzonia has been a popular breakfast spot for 20 years. The restaurant serves standard diner fare like corned beef hash, but also gets creative with dishes like Hawaiian omelets and bread pudding French toast.

Thomas Wright is the new owner of Crystal Café, but just a year ago, he was a server here. He moved north from Ann Arbor with his fiancé, and they were enjoying the Up North life and planning their wedding.

Then, last summer, out of the blue, the owners of the café said they wanted out of the business.

MORGAN SPRINGER / Interlochen Public Radio

In Traverse City’s East Bay, on the busy hotel strip on U.S. 31, is Don’s Drive In. The pink and turquoise restaurant is known for its burgers and shakes and the fact that it’s kind of old school.


Detroit skyline
Debbie Malyn / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's been a great effort to revitalize Detroit in recent years, but new figures from the US Census Bureau show the city is still losing population. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what it's going to take for Detroit to see some growth.

A recent survey by the National Restaurant Association shows that 27% of restaurant owners say recruiting and retaining employees is their No. 1 problem.
Strangely-Brown / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Restaurants depend on immigrants. Nationally, nearly one in five restaurant employees are foreign born. So what could President Trump's new immigration policies mean for the workers, and ultimately for the food service industry?

"The traditional classroom style was not the best way to teach this type of information ... Once the guys were able to see hands on what it meant to run a business using the food truck as a classroom, it completely changed what they thought," Harris said.
Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

The Skillman Foundation has awarded $50,000 each to six different programs in connection with the My Brother’s Keeper Detroit Innovation Challenge.

One of the six is Giving Them the Business. The goal is to teach young men of color to be owners and operators of restaurants, not just hired help, according to a release from the foundation.

Jerrell Harris coordinates Giving Them the Business. He joined us today.

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